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N330bn Fine: MTN Group Has Paid N165bn – NCC



The nation’s telecom regulatory agency, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has disclosed that MTN Nigeria has paid N165 billion so far towards clearing the N330 billion fine slammed on it by the commission for failing to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered subscribers.

Recall that the fine which was initially N1.04 trillion was later reduced to N330 billion after an eight-month tussle between the MTN and NCC. The agreement was that MTN will now pay a reduced fine of N330 billion in a staggered form, within a time limit of three years, by 2019, and it will be listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE), as soon as possible.

Speaking when he received a high-powered delegation from the MTN Group, led by the MTN Nigeria chairman, Dr. Paschal Dozie, in his office in Abuja, the executive vice chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the N55 billion cheque it received from the group about two weeks ago brought the payment to half of the fine payment.

He said: “This visit might be by share coincidence that part of the fine was paid in March, it is not more than two weeks that we received a cheque for N55bn. So far, MTN has paid more than 50 per cent of the fine and that will translate to N165 billion. Yes, it is a whooping sum of money and they have not defaulted on it. This payment they are making is on consistent ways, terms of agreement we reached with them. Remember there was an amicable settlement agreement leading to the way and manner the fine is being paid by installment now. So far, they have not reneged.”

Danbatta noted that the whole idea of the exercise was not to bring MTN to its knees, saying the commission just wanted to ensure it was not business as usual, adding that more than the fine the commission wanted to ensure that the rules of engagement are respected.

“We think it is worthy of note that we have put this incident behind us, we still smile and we still find ways to cooperate to move the industry in this country forward. We hope that we’ll continue to cooperate in a manner that will further stabilize the industry in this country, grow it further,” he added.

Earlier, Dr. Dozie intimated Danbatta and the top management staff of the commission of the groups visit, saying the group board are in Nigeria for a strategy session and took advantage of their presence in Nigeria to pay a courtesy visit on the EVC.

Similarly, the executive chairman of the board of directors of MTN Group, Mr Phuthuma Nhleko, stated that MTN is currently operating in over 22 countries in Africa and middle east, saying the group was in Nigeria as part of its thought process of having a firsthand experience of some of those market beyond what they hear about them, saying they started implementing the thought process in Nigeria being one of the larger contributors of the MTN group as a whole.

He sought the continued cooperation of the NCC, urging it always give a sympathetic ear to its challenges and find a constructive way of dealing with those issues and move forward.

In his remarks, the chief executive officer and president of MTN Group, Rob Shutter, noted that 2018 is an important year for MTN in Nigeria with regards the listing of NSE, even as he expressed the group’s pleasure, saying the group is sharing some of the lessons learnt and the progress the team has made.



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